Fully qualified veterinarian Dr. Meikle and I said a second goodbye-of-sorts to each other a number of Mondays back, up in Hampstead, the afternoon before I visited the Death Ray set I think. I uncharacteristically teared up over a hot chocolate and rather more characteristically bought a rubber duck and took photos... But it was relaxing, and she gave me a word of advice I shall pass on to you now, in this my hundredth post, because it's a good word of advice, and to name something is to give yourself a measure of control over it, so here it is:
I had been worrying to her in passing about a scheduled meeting coming up with a former object of desire, and she said "You're empowered. You're completely empowered. Just don't wear your cockgoggles."
It's very important to be reminded that's an option. Yes, cockgoggles. Of course. As a salutary reminder I took myself off a few days later to see Elegy, in which Ben Kingsley plays a public intellectual who meets, falls in love with and then has to say goodbye to Penelope Cruz's breasts (the title can only refer to her masectomy), and with the saddening clarity now afforded by the good doctor's advice I could see that every decision here weighed and every savvy pronouncement delivered in this movie was just patently dotty: the sayings of a sap who'd thought he'd made sense of this world at sixty, but had accidentally kept his cockgoggles on. All this time. Like a sixty-year-old cucumber seed in your beard nobody has thought to mention. Take 'em off, Philip Roth.
And I got a call from Dr. Meikle this evening, well yesterday evening now, sounding kind and happy. She's working 13-hour-days now at a veterinary practice up in the Pyrenees. Yeah I wonder what she does... Here's today's death ray:
Remember: Take 'Em Off.